Art Watch: Two mills on the Brandywine

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Gloucester by Maurice Prendergast (1858-1924), Somerville Manning Gallery

American art is on exhibit at two mills along the Brandywine, Hoffman’s and Breck’s mill. The former mill became the Brandywine River Museum of Art, and the later became the home of Somerville Manning Gallery. The museum and gallery each have two exhibits running in April which compliment each other.

Somerville Manning Gallery is currently featuring “American Masters Art of the 19th–20th Centuries” and “Protected Land: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Brandywine Conservancy and the land that they preserve” at their location in Wilmington Delaware. The exhibitions will be on view from April 11 to May 27, 2017. For almost thirty-five years, Somerville Manning Gallery has specialized in paintings by the Wyeth family. The exhibition, American Masters, continues to juxtapose the artworks of N.C., Andrew, and Jamie Wyeth with the artists of their respective eras.

Along with paintings by N.C. Wyeth Somerville Manning Gallery features works by American impressionists, Maurice Prendergast, Mary Cassatt, Childe Hassam, John Henry Twachtman and J. Alden Weir. A highlight of the exhibition is a stunning portrait by renowned Philadelphia painter, Thomas Eakins. Acclaimed artists, John Singer Sargent and Winslow Homer are on view along with a major work by American Modernist Jacob Lawrence. Paintings by the father of abstract expressionism, Hans Hofmann, coincide with the Post-War period in which Andrew Wyeth was exploring realism. Contemporary pieces by Jim Dine, Wolf Kahn, and Jamie Wyeth round out the 21st century are on display as well. The exhibition includes other works from many important American schools and traditions that run the gambit from realism to abstraction.

Angered Dandelions (Pissed Dandelions) by Jamie Wyeth, Somerville Manning Gallery

The Somerville Manning Gallery’s exhibition runs concurrently with two the Brandywine River Museum of Art’s exhibitions, “From Homer to Hopper: Experiment and Ingenuity on American Art and New Terrains.”   All shows feature original paintings by a similar list of artists, which explores over 100 years of Masters in the American art world.  This show is organized by the curators of The Phillips Collection in Washington DC and specifically concentrates on American artists from 1870 to 1950 who are considered "masters of the modern art movement in America." The exhibit is now open and runs until May 21.

New Terrains presents over twenty-five important works of American art from Richard M. Scaife, a Pittsburgh philanthropist and former trustee of the Brandywine Conservancy & Museum of Art according to the museum website. The exhibit will run until May 30.

During these exhibitions, Somerville Manning Gallery is a sponsor of events at the Brandywine River Museum of Art to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Brandywine Conservancy. To honor the amazing work that is done by the Conservancy the gallery hangs paintings in the back gallery to showcase the stunning preserved landscape of the Brandywine Valley. The exhibition, “Protected Land,” was initiated by a quote from George A. “Frolic” Weymouth, Founder of the Brandywine Conservancy and Museum of Art; “Our aim was always to preserve the land that inspired so many artists.”

The exhibitions in the gallery are accentuated by the gallery’s

Chair with Flowers by Hans Hofmann (1880-1966), Somerville Manning Gallery

location in the historic Brecks ill on a Brandywine River waterfall next to Hagley Museum. Vickie Manning started Somerville Manning Gallery over 35 years ago in 1981. Her goal was to showcase the great art from here as well as bring art of national prominence to the area. Somerville Manning Gallery specializes in original fine art from the Wyeth Family, the Howard Pyle School of Illustration, and American contemporary painters and sculptors including many artists from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art. Vickie Manning's vision was to feature great American art from the 20th and 21st century in a beautiful setting indicative of the area and its history.

Future shows include “Andrew Wyeth,” June 5 to July 29; “Under the Influence,” five contemporary artists and work by the Masters that inspired them, September 15 to October 6; Jon Redmond, October 13 to November 11; Greg and Jon Mort, November 17 to December 23.

Vickie Manning, owner of Somerville Manning Gallery and an expert on Andrew Wyeth and Tom Padon, director of the Brandywine River Museum of Art will be guests of Lele Galer's show on Living History Art Watch radio WCHE 1520 AM June 7 1 to 1:30 p.m. to discuss the Andrew Wyeth cross over exhibits.

Lele Galer is away, and Vickie Manning is the guest author of this week’s column.



About Lele Galer

Lele Galer is an artist who has chaired numerous art shows, taught art history and studio art, public art and has chaired, written and taught the Art in Action Art Appreciation series for the UCFD schools for the past 12 years. She worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and wrote for the Associated Press in Rome. She has been dedicated to Art History and art education for most of her adult life. Lele and her husband Brad own Galer Estate Winery in Kennett Square.

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